Letter to the Editor: Nov. 21, 2012
A terrible tragedy is unfolding in Israel and in Gaza. As the Palestinian and Israeli people suffer from dangerous threats to their safety and security, many of us find our emotions running high as the conflict is escalating before our very eyes.
Above all, my heart goes out to those mourning the deaths of the innocent civilians who died as a result of this recent rise in violence. As we now know a cease-fire has been signed, we hope the suffering will soon come to an end, but we must make efforts to ensure these lives, on both sides, will never be forgotten.
As my Facebook newsfeed explodes with political statements supporting one side or the other, as posters go up all over campus expressing support for the actions of one side or the other, as one-sided demonstrations happen in front of Frist Campus Center and as countering columns run in The Daily Princetonian, it has become clear to me that the need for constructive, meaningful conversation is immediate.
As a community of smart leaders on this campus, we have a responsibility to behave better than this. The seemingly endless cycle of one-sided conversation brings us nowhere; we must shift from a politics of blame, where we try and convince others the other side is at fault, to a politics of responsibility, where we ask what we can do to reframe the conversation to move toward peace.
If we want to advance peace in the greater world, we must choose dialogue over division, personal narratives over political propaganda and a future of hope over the voices that say change will never come. We must choose peace over partisan violence. We must move to action and not simply watch from the sidelines as bystanders. And this process begins right here on our campus.
Today, I encourage every member of the Princeton University community to educate ourselves about what is happening in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. We must come together as a community for a constructive and meaningful conversation. Only through such a conversation will we ever meaningfully engage with these issues, and through such a conversation we can inspire others beyond the Orange Bubble to move from a feeling of hopelessness to possessing not only a hope for peace, through a peace agreement to a two-state solution, but to a belief in the ability for it to be achieved in our lifetime.
I believe in a two-state solution because it is the only option that will allow Israel to be a Jewish and democratic state while ensuring Palestinians enjoy the basic human rights we all deserve.
At all times, but all the more so during these tough times, we must be a force to lead our community toward meaningful, constructive dialogue and into action.
Let us all stand together, despite our different perspectives, in our efforts to end this tragedy once and for all, as we become the beginning of a new narrative of peace.
Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen '15
President, J Street U Princeton